Expanding Your Circles

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Hey Friends,

How’d you do on your homework last week? OK, so you got distracted with online learning, pumpkin picking (socially distant, of course) and catching up on football. No? Just me? Or you’re crazy-busy because work is picking up after months of COVID-denial from other businesses….No? Just me? Perhaps it just felt hard. That’s ok too. I asked you to take a vulnerability risk by inviting people from your secondary support circle into your primary circle. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

After you’re caught up on homework, we’re ready to expand your circle. This outer circle is usually systems that you interact with or people that are paid to be in your life. Often providers, teachers, and systems fall in this circle. This is where I am for many people. Remember, systems can be on any level of the circles and are often critical supports to have in place. Food boxes, suicide helplines, utility companies, DV shelters, and counseling centers are examples of systems that you might have on that outer layer as well.

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Let me tell you a little bit about my story of becoming a psychologist. How I became a “system” of support for so many people.

So, truth be told, ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor. A medical doctor. Not a “feelings doctor.” Ask anyone who grew up with me and knew my college aspirations. My undergraduate declared area of focus was pre-medicine.

I dove into academics as I do most things in life – with fervor. I took all of my pre-medicine classes and aced them, if I do say so myself. But I also had to declare a major. Most pre-med students go with biology or chemistry, or some other “hard science.” I chose psychology, thinking that, perhaps, understanding human behavior may be helpful as a physician. My first professor at Creighton, Dr. Lupo, exemplified an academic hippie in every way – Birkenstocks, barefooted and pony-tailed, he waltzed into class twice a week and talked about all-things psychology, testing, mental health and the human mind. I. WAS. HOOKED.

To me, psychology helped to understand others but also helped to understand myself. It was amazing and insightful – understanding the human mind and behavior was like unlocking the keys to the universe. By my junior year, I had a huge crisis as I fought against my new passion of psychology and my younger self-identity as an aspiring physician. But by the end of that spring, I said goodbye to medicine and embraced psychology. And I’ve never looked back.

Every day, I get to sit with incredible people and hold space for the most sacred stories and experiences. I train teachers and physicians about trauma and resilience. I facilitate groups for overwhelmed moms, hold the virtual hands of teens on the brink of crying, calm dynamics from misunderstood parents, sit with the anxiety of pre-tweens and help young people fumble through self-discovery and self-awareness.

There’s never been a greater gift to me than finding this field.

My second year in private practice, a young girl left me a voicemail – her sweet, 6-year old voice informed me that I should run for president – “because if you can help me stand up to my abuser, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!” No sweet girl, you can – and I was just here to help as a guide along the path you were already created for.

So, friends, listen to your heart. Change your plans. Follow your gut. Find a passion that inspires you every day. And thank you for choosing me to be part of your journey. For everything I give, I get back from all of you millions of times over. I choose you and I choose this field EVERY.DAMN.DAY.

Thanks for letting me be part of your circles.

With gratitude and humility,

Dr. Amy

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